Perhaps it isn’t such a surprise to find a kale and white bean soup on a food blog smack dab in the middle of January. Not only have we been confronted with weeks upon weeks of achingly cold weather, but the recipe fits well into the content niche of post-new-year’s resolutions but pre-Valentine’s Day indulgence. But that’s not why this soup is here today. In reality, this soup was no easy feat for me. I’m actually relatively new to the “enjoying beans” bandwagon, and I’m still taking baby steps towards liking wilted greens.
But that’s one of the fun things about cooking, and eating, and growing. Our tastes buds change, and we learn to like to ingredients and new flavor combinations. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have eaten beans in any form, but I’ve been moving from one dish to the next (starting with black beans tucked into cheesy quesadillas, moving to beans and rice), and finally made my way to beans and wilted greens. I have to admit, I’m not quite there yet with the wilted greens. Just this evening David made a tomato and wilted spinach pasta for dinner, and by the end of the meal I still had some wilted leaves on my plate. But I’m working on it, and trust me, this soup works.
We start with what is basically a mire poix (plus leeks) as the base of the soup, adding the onions, carrots, garlic and leeks all together. But the first thing I do is brown the chicken sausage. I like the addition of the chicken sausage; it gives flavor and texture to what could (in other permutations) be a watery and lifeless soup. Cook the sausage first, in the same large pot used to cook the rest of the soup, so the browned bits incorporate their flavor into the base of the soup.
Kale & Chicken Sausage Soup
12 ounces chicken sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch thin rounds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium leeks (or 1 large)
3 carrots, sliced into thin coins
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
1/3 pound kale
2 sprigs rosemary
2 Parmesan rinds
1. Brown the sausage in a large pot over medium heat. Remove the sausage and set aside.
2. In the same pot add the olive oil, onions, leeks, garlic, and carrots. Cook until the leeks and onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the stock, beans, rosemary, and Parmesan rinds. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprigs and Parmesan rinds.
3. Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the sausage and kale. Cook until the kale wilts. Thin the soup if needed by adding more water.